Staying local this June long weekend? You’re in for a treat. Our local farmers are opening their gates and welcoming you into their paddocks in celebration of the annual Central Coast Harvest Festival. You can shake pecans from the tree in Somersby, plant seedlings in Mangrove Mountain, cuddle chooks in Kulnura and pick herbs in Jilliby.
We’ve spoken with the farmers and perused locally sourced menus to share with you what we believe will be the Harvest Festival’s best family-friendly events.
But first, a tip: don’t delay buying tickets. We’ve already snapped a few up, and the rest are sure to go super quick.
So here, in no particular order, are our favourite events…
Pick Your Own Pecans, Somersby
The Pecan Lady is opening her orchard over the Harvest Festival long weekend and inviting you to forage for nuts fallen fresh from the trees. Bring a bucket to fill, watch a tree-shaking demonstration (11am and 2pm daily) and enjoy a picnic under the canopy.
DATES: 9am-4pm Saturday 9, Sunday 10, and Monday 11 June.
LOCATION: The Pecan Lady, 30 Ulinga Rd, Somersby (see map below).
COST: Free entry. Pay for what you pick: $8 per kg or $30 per normal bucket.
Day on the Farm at Eastcoast Beverages, Kulnura
Eastcoast Beverages is throwing open both their orchard gates and factory doors, so you can experience a Day on the Farm on Sunday 10 June. This third-generation, family owned fruit juice and spring water company is giving you a rare chance to join a tour and get a sneak peek of their full facility. Watch and learn how citrus is grown, squeezed and then bottled into fruit juice that’s then distributed to outlets across Australia.
Plus they’ve pulled together a tonne of local businesses, food trucks and entertainers to bring you a fun day out. There will be live music, burgers from The Hungry Traveller, wine from Fires Creek, talks and workshops on sustainability, and more. The kids will get spoilt too – with free face painting, a roving magician and circus-skills workshops from Party Chameleon and Switcharoo Circus.
What about orange picking we hear you say? Due to the hot Autumn we’ve been experiencing the oranges haven’t ripened as early as they normally do – for this reason they may or may not have picking tours: this will be decided on the day.
DATE: 10am-4pm, Sunday 10 June.
LOCATION: Eastcoast Beverages, 993 George Downes Dr, Kulnura (see map below).
COST: Free entry. The 30-minute factory tours are $5 for kids under 12 and $10 for adults. Bookings for the tours are essential – there are only a few spaces left.
Full Circle Farm Tour, Jilliby
Full Circle Farm is a pasture-based, regenerative farm located in the beautiful Dooralong Valley run by Shannon and Kylie Kelly (and their two gorgeous farmhands aged 5 and 3). They produce grass-fed and grass-finished beef, pasture-raised chicken and pastured eggs. They’re opening their gates for some special Harvest Weekend tours so people can see what’s possible when you farm with nature instead of against it. Shannon laughs, “I don’t even have a tractor, so people are normally underwhelmed when they first arrive as there’s not much to see,” but that is the point of this style of farming – it’s all about working from the ground up, and that simplicity is something Shannon’s really proud of.
During the tour you’ll wander the paddocks visiting their herd of cattle, both their meat and egg-laying chickens, plus their fluffy day-old chicks. They’ll also put on a sausage sizzle (using their own sausages, of course) so you’re tummy is full when you get back on the road.
TOUR TIMES: 10.30am-12.30pm Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June. Bookings essential.
LOCATION: Full Circle Farm, 182a Smiths Rd, Jilliby (see map below).
COST: $11 for adults and children 2 years and over; $22 for a family of four; free for children under 2. Sausage sizzle not included in tour price.
BOOKINGS: Click here to book.
Grace Springs Farm Tours, Kulnura
If you’re looking for a hands-on tour, this is it. At Grace Springs Farm you can cuddle the chooks, pat Lotta the calf, and harvest and taste produce picked straight from the market garden. You’ll watch a cow being milked, visit the bee hives and enjoy a country-style tea of homemade scones, sponge cake or a yummy slice. Grace Springs Farm produces grass-fed and grass-finished beef, pastured eggs, pastured chicken, pastured muscovy duck, vegetables, garlic and honey, and just last year owner Virginia Mall started running regular farm tours. The tours are run on select dates throughout the year, so if you can’t make it to Harvest Weekend you can try for another date or even put in a request for a private group tour.
TOUR TIMES: 10am and 2pm, Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June. Bookings essential.
LOCATION: Grace Springs Farm, 1128 George Downes Dr, Kulnura (see map below).
COST: $16.50 per person; under 3 years free.
WEBSITE & BOOKINGS: gracespringsfarm.net
Mountain Goat Trails Farm Tours, Mangrove Mountain
Hannah Wade grew up in Mangrove Mountain, and her family’s property was the place her friends always wanted to visit to experience that touch of farm life. Mountain Goat Trails, the local touring business she established last year, was developed in the hopes of encouraging that ethos. “We want people to experience life on the farm,” she says, “to develop a relationship with farming culture and a knowledge of where their food comes from.”
The tours they’re running as part of Harvest Festival will occur at the family’s Silver Gully Estate – a square meater cattle station in Mangrove Mountain. The tour will include local farming storytelling, the tasting of bush honey from the family’s Hunter Valley hives and planting buxus or nandina seedlings – as well as potting one to take home. You’ll meet and pet their alpacas, Flora and Polly, and feed Lucerne hay to their cows. The tour also includes a tea of homemade scones and local fruit.
To give you a true paddock-to-plate experience they’ll also be serving a barbecue lunch on both days from 11am-2.30pm. You don’t have to book this in advance: just arrive hungry.
TOUR TIMES: 9am, 10am, 2.30pm and 3.30pm on Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June. Bookings essential.
BBQ LUNCH: 11am-2.30pm on Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June.
LOCATION: Mountain Goat Trails at Silver Gully Estate, 60 Niclins Rd, Mangrove Mountain (see map below).
COST: $15 per adult; $5 per child (2-16 years); Kids under 2 years are free; family (2 adults and 2 children) $35. Plus booking fee. BBQ lunch not included in the tour price.
WEBSITE & TOUR BOOKINGS: mountaingoattrails.com.au
Glenworth Grazing Food & Wine Festival, Glenworth Valley
Glenworth Valley is pulling out all the stops to bring you an activity-packed family-fun long weekend. Adults, with the likes of Mr Goaty Gelato, Six Strings Brewing Co and Distillery Botanica making an appearance here, you’ll be tasting some of the region’s best home-grown food and drinks. The kids, meanwhile, are going to go crazy in the activity arena. There’ll be a free petting farm with miniature goats, miniature donkeys, chickens and guinea pigs, free drumming workshops run by the guys from Circle of Life and free Compost Happens kids sustainability workshops. Plus you can try out some of Glenworth Valley’s outdoor activities, such as laser skirmish and lead pony rides, at heavily discounted rates. See below for prices and timetables.
Adults, if you’re looking for a non-kid-friendly event to whisk your partner away to, book in to the Glenworth Grazing Lunch on Saturday 9 June. Glenworth Valley’s executive chef Mario Schwaille (formerly of Michelin-star restaurant Gleneagles in Scotland) together with Jill Richardson from A Taste Of The Bush and Hunter Valley winemaker Audrey Wilkinson, will be creating a bush-inspired winter feast of local produce. Bookings are essential.
Saturday 9 June
- 10-10:45am Make Biodegradable Pots and Grow Organic Seedlings (kids)
- 11-11:30am Circle Of Life Drumming Workshop
- 11:45-12:30pm Bees Wax Eco Packaging Workshop
- 12:45-1:45pm Worm Farming Workshop (adults)
- 2-2:30pm Circle Of Life Drumming Workshop
Sunday 10 June
- 10-10:45am Make Non-Toxic Cleaning Aids and Personal Care Products (kids)
- 11-11:30am Circle Of Life Drumming Workshop
- 12:45-1:45pm Seedlings, Sprouts & Micro Herbs Workshop (adults)
- 2-2:30pm Circle Of Life Drumming Workshop
DATES: 10am-5pm, Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June.
LOCATION: Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures, 69 Cooks Rd, Glenworth Valley (see map below).
COST: Free entry to the Glenworth Grazing Food & Wine Festival – pay for what you purchase. Jumping Castle $2; Lead Pony Rides $5; Laser Skirmish $15 for 20 minutes. The Glenworth Grazing Lunch is $69/person.
WEBSITE & BOOKINGS: glenworthgrazing.com.au
Valley’s End Farm Tours, Jilliby
Lexxie is a self-described permaculture teacher, gardener, regenerative farmer and homesteader, and in this tour of her five-year-old farm she’ll share with you a snippet of each of these roles. Lexxie invites you to stroll with her through her productive veggie patches, food forest and micro market garden, and to explore her pastured animal systems and rainforest. Kids will love seeing the rabbits, chickens on pasture, and a dairy cow and calf. The tour will end with you picking your favourite herbal tea straight from the garden and biting into homemade bread topped with jams and local honey.
TOUR TIMES: Tours at 9am and 1pm, Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June. Bookings essential.
LOCATION: Valley’s End Farm, 145 Beaven Ln, Jilliby (see map below).
COST: Children under 10 are free; $13.75 per person over 10 years.
WEBSITE & BOOKINGS: valleysendfarm.net
The Springs, Peats Ridge
Amusement stands and old-fashioned carnival games will give The Springs a fun “Local Show” vibe during Harvest weekend. Kids will get a kick out of riding the 6-seater golf buggies and clamberign aboard their tractor for a photo. The restaurant will serve tapas (with all ingredients sourced locally) and Harvest-inspired cocktails and mocktails for those who wish to sit, and The Quack Shack will be open 11am-4pm – a takeaway café selling coffees, teas, snacks and sandwiches – for those on the run. They’ll also have pop-up shops from Something Anything and Crazy Clay Ceramics, plus chef Dan’s homemade pickles available for purchase.
DATES: Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June. Bookings for the restaurant are essential and can be made for Saturday and Sunday lunch plus Saturday dinner.
LOCATION: The Springs, 1080 Peats Ridge Rd, Peats Ridge (see map below).
TIMES: The carnival event is open Saturday 11am-4.30pm and 5pm-11pm; Sunday 11am-6pm. The Quack Shack will be open 11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday.
WEBSITE & BOOKINGS: the-springs.com.au
Acoustic Harvest at Mangrove Mountain
Acoustic Harvest brings music, the arts and farming together in a unique concept featuring the Central Coast’s up-and-coming musicians, including Hannah Scarr (16 years old) and Georgia Fahey (15 years old) of Kariong Mountains High School. Pop-up stalls of Maggie’s gumnut beanies, Averil’s natural skin care, and the Central Coast Vintage Tractor and Machinery Club will be there along with an interactive art space that kids will enjoy. The art space includes a large mural artwork that you’re welcome to add your own creativity to (free), or you can create and take home a canvas artwork and/or reusable Calico bag decorated in fabric pens (both $5).
DATE: 10am to 3pm, Saturday 9 June.
LOCATION: Mangrove Mountain Hall, Cnr Wiseman’s Ferry Rd and Waratah Rd, Mangrove Mountain.
COST: Free event – pay for what you purchase.
PLUS enjoy some fun Hinterland attractions at a discount this Harvest Festival Weekend
Play FootGolf at Mangrove Mountain Memorial Club & Golf Course
Book in for a game of FootGolf over the June long weekend and everyone will get FREE ball hire. Mangrove Mountain Memorial Club and Golf Course is running this special deal – and a locally sourced blackboard menu – as part of the Harvest Festival celebrations. Not sure what FootGolf is? It is as it sounds: a game that combines the fun of soccer and golf! The aim is to walk a golf course and to kick a soccer ball into nine specially designed holes in as few kicks as possible.
We were promised that FootGolf was a game the whole family would enjoy, so we tested it out and took the ENTIRE family. We had toddlers, kids, teens, adults and grandparents come along, and we ALL had an awesome time. Click here to read our review.
DATES: FootGolf 12pm-4pm, Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June. The dining room is open 11.30am-2pm and 5.30pm-8pm.
LOCATION: Mangrove Mountain Memorial Club, 18 Hallards Rd, Central Mangrove (see map below).
COST: FootGolf is $11 for adults and $6 for kids. Free ball hire during Harvest Festival (normally $5 each).
WEBSITE & BOOKINGS: mmmclub.com.au
Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, Calga
Join Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park rangers to discover how First Australians have gathered food from the bush for thousands of years, and how you can too. The rangers will share their knowledge of bush medicine, bush tools and bush tucker – such as where to find water in a parched landscape, the medicinal healing properties of plants, how to select and use materials to make tools and where to find fruits, roots, termites and honey. This tour is included in park entry, with adults at children’s prices during the Harvest Festival (9-10 June, 2018).
At Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park you can pet kangaroos and wallabies, come face to face with roaming emus and feed the farm animals – goats, turkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs and more. Plus listen to ranger talks, view native animals such as dingoes, flying foxes, echidnas and pademelons, and see First Australian ochre paintings that are believed to be more than 4000 years old.
TOUR TIMES: 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm Saturday 9 June and Sunday 10 June.
LOCATION: Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, 1 Darkinjung Rd, Cnr Peats Ridge Rd, Calga (see map below).
COST: Park entry and tour $15 per person (This is a discounted price during Harvest Festival).
🌿 For Central Coast Council’s official Harvest Festival Central Coast Program of all events plus details of their free shuttle bus which will be looping between venues, click here.
Map of Harvest Festival event venues for kids
♥ Invite a friend to join in on the fun. ↓